Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students


Pleasure in Religion

Wherever a school is established, there should be warm hearts to take a lively interest in the youth. Fathers and mothers are needed who will give warm sympathy and kindly admonitions. All the pleasantness possible should be brought into the religious exercises. Those who prolong these exercises to weariness are leaving wrong impressions upon the minds of the youth, leading them to associate religion with that which is dry, unsocial, and uninteresting.... Ardent, active piety in the teacher is essential. Unless constant care is exercised, and unless vitalized by the Spirit of God, the morning and evening service in the chapel and the Sabbath meetings will become dry and formal, and to the youth the most burdensome and the least attractive of the school exercises. The social meetings should be managed in such a way as to make them seasons not only of profit, but of positive pleasure. CT 502.1

Let those who teach the youth study for themselves in the school of Christ, and learn lessons to communicate to their students. Sincere, earnest, heartfelt devotion is needed. All narrowness should be avoided. Let the teacher so far unbend from his dignity as to be one with the children in their exercises and amusements, without leaving the impression that they are being watched. His very presence with them will give a mold to their actions, and will cause his heart to throb with new affection. CT 502.2

The youth need sympathy, affection, and love, or they will become discouraged. A spirit of “I care for nobody and nobody cares for me” takes possession of them. They may profess to be followers of Christ; but they have a tempting devil on their track, and they are in danger of becoming disheartened and lukewarm, and of backsliding from God. Then some feel it a duty to blame them and to treat them coldly as if they were a great deal worse than they really are. Few, perhaps none, feel it their duty to make personal efforts to reform them and to remove the unhappy impressions that have been made upon them. CT 503.1

The teacher's obligations are weighty and sacred, but no part of his work is more important than that of looking after the youth with tender, loving solicitude. Let the teacher once gain the confidence of his students, and he can easily lead and control and train them. The holy motives that underlie Christian living must be brought into the life. The salvation of his pupils is the highest interest entrusted to the God-fearing teacher. He is Christ's co-worker, and his special and determined effort should be to win them to Christ. God will require this at his hands. CT 503.2

Every teacher should lead a life of piety, of purity, of painstaking effort. If the heart is glowing with the love of God, there will be seen in the life that pure affection which is essential; fervent prayers will be offered and faithful warnings given. When these are neglected, the souls under his care are endangered.... CT 503.3

And yet, after all these efforts have been made, teachers may find that some will develop unprincipled characters. They are lax in morals, the result, in many cases, of vicious example and lack of parental discipline. Though teachers may do all they can, they will fail to lead these youth to a life of purity and holiness. After patient discipline, affectionate labor, and fervent prayer, they will be disappointed by those from whom they have hoped for much. In addition to this they will meet the reproaches of the parents because they have not had power to counteract the influence of the wrong example and unwise training received in the home. But in spite of these discouragements the teacher must work on, trusting in God to work with him, standing at his post manfully and laboring in faith. Others will be saved to God, and their influence will be exerted in saving still others.... CT 503.4